Punjab CM Mann closes 3 toll plazas, says will order probe into breach of agreement


Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday ordered the closure of three toll plazas and said it will be probed why no action was taken against the company operating them for allegedly breaching agreements signed with the previous state governments.

He made the announcement after closing the toll plazas at Majari (Nawanshahar), Nangal Shaheedan and Mangarh (Hoshiarpur) on the 105-km Balachaur-Dasuya road and said that his government refused to grant extension sought by the company.

Addressing the media at Nangal Shaheedan here, Mann said the toll plazas should have been closed 10 years ago but the erstwhile governments — Akali-BJP alliance and Congress — connived with the company to mint money.

There was no immediate reaction by the company. He said with the closure of these toll plazas, daily Rs 10.52 lakh of the general public will be saved.


The CM blamed the previous governments for taking no notice of the alleged breach of agreements by the company and providing them various benefits, including subsidy in construction of the road and waiver in penalty.

The previous governments of the SAD-BJP and Congress did not bother about the interests of the people and looted the state exchequer, he alleged.

“This is evident from the fact that the then PWD ministers, including Partap Singh Bajwa (now leader of opposition) and Parminder Singh Dhindsa along with Sukhbir Singh Badal plundered public money,” he alleged.

Mann said the party that kept chanting “raj nahi, sewa” (service, not rule) indulged in the service of companies running the toll plazas as he targeted the Shiromani Akali Dal.

He dared the leaders to explain why they ditched people of the state for their personal interests.

Under this Rs 123.64 crore project, Rajdeep Tollways company had to construct a 104.96-km long road, the agreement for which was inked by (Partap Singh) Bajwa on December 6, 2005, said Mann.

Mann claimed that the Amarinder Singh government extended a largesse worth Rs 49.45 crore in form of subsidy to the company out of a total project of Rs 123.64 crore.

The CM said the toll company had to complete the project of laying bitumen on the road by March 5, 2013 but it was accomplished on April 30, 2015 with a delay of 786 days.

For this delay, the company could have been charged a fine of Rs 61.60 crore but instead of recovering this fine, the then SAD-BJP alliance government waived it, he said. On another occasion, the work of laying bitumen was to be completed by March 5, 2018 but it was completed on November 9, 2020 with a delay of 979 days.

Accusing the previous governments of not slapping any notice of termination of agreement and not imposing fine for the delays in 2013 and 2018, Mann said these toll plazas could have been shut down.

Such deep rootedness was the connivance of these parties with the toll company that they had put it in the agreement that in case of any flouting of norms, the fine to be imposed on the company will not be more than Rs 6.12 crore, he alleged.

Mann said the toll plaza company had sought extension of contract from his government for 533 days citing the Covid pandemic and farmers agitation, but he refused.

Replying to a question, Mann said his government will hold an inquiry into why no notice of termination was issued and no penalty was imposed on the toll company.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)